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World Book Day: Maggie Lucas

Maggie Lucas is the Sales & Marketing Director at Square One Creative Ltd

 

 

What is your favourite business book? Feel the fear and do it anyway by Suan Jeffers

What was the last business book you read?  Pitch anything by Oren Klaff

Is there a book you want to make time to read this year?  Now what by Brad Burton

What book (business or otherwise) would you take to a desert island with you?  The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

World Book Day: Philippa Bowen

We are huge fans of books, for business and pleasure and in honour of World Book Day we’ve been asking some of our favourite people about their favourite books. Throughout the day we’ll be posting their answers.

We hope there will be some new ideas of interesting things to read. So to get you going here are my responses:

 

What is your favourite business book?  Flip it: how to get the best out of everything by Michael Heppell

What was the last business book you read?  Lean in by Sheryl Sandberg

Is there a book you want to make time to read this year?  Too many to mention, but probably to reread the E-myth revisited by Michael Gerber

What book (business or otherwise) would you take to a desert island with you? The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling  (sorry I love them!)

 

 

If you’d like to join in please tweet us at @bignitiongroup with your suggestions

Weekly reflection 24th February 2017

This week has been mainly office based which was a nice change after last week. We celebrated a couple of milestones with a client – something we think is very important to see how work is progressing & acknowledging the hard work by everyone involved.

We held a strategy session with a client which blew us away with the ambition now for their business! Hopefully we’ll be able to share more details with you early next quarter.

A couple of our new products are now reaching the point of coming to market – we’ll be telling you more about those next month.

And we’ve been planning for world book day – capturing the favourite books of some of our favourite people – watch out next week for the results of that!

Otherwise client meetings & some lovely networking filled the rest of the time. And this weeks pictures are of some cars very special to me – ask if you want to know why!

Weekly reflection 17th February 2017

Every Monday and Friday I post in a mastermind group about what I plan for the week and then what I have actually achieved, and we hold each other to account for doing it. Last week we were discussing how people’s perceptions of what business consultants/ coaches/ business owners actually do is influenced by social media posts/ brief conversations at networking events or email communications. A suggestion was made that we should share what we have, and haven’t achieved so other people can see what our businesses do. Hence these posts! (even though I started a week early)

If you have any questions, please just get in touch on hello@businessignitiongroup.co.uk and I’ll try to answer.

 

So, this week has been mainly away from home and the office for me while attending an ISO audit. We are thrilled (although not terribly surprised) that the client passed with flying colours. Reflects 14 months of hard graft on their part (and ours!)

I managed to make my local PSA meeting and heard the very lovely Roger Harrop speak, which is always a pleasure.

The rest of the team have been working on a new product we have in the pipeline (more news about that in coming weeks), a little bit of networking, developing new strategies for growth, getting a couple of proposals out for additional services to our current clients, client meetings and working on our digital client’s campaigns.

 

Weekly reflection 10th February 2017

This week has been a busy one, it always is when I try to fit 5 days’ work into a 4 day week.

It has involved launching a management service for a new digital client, training sessions with the team, client meetings, new business development, some brand building for us, some support for our business partners and a couple of very exciting invitations for the coming month. We also enjoyed conversations with a couple of old business friends who have moved business/ location but lovely to touch base with them again and understand where they are now.

bye bye old friend!

 

 

We bade farewell to 2 original team members which was very sad, but we’re glad to say they have been happily rehomed by a local charity.

 

(Just to clarify they were the original orange office chairs which we had in our first Derby office!!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I review my goals for the week I’m just about on track – a little wiggle room in the plan means we should still meet the plan by the end of the month!

We’ve also confirmed our places at the Derby Quad auction and at Huub events Derby Business Games. Will you be joining us there?

My Placement Story, by Saffron Millington

 

Before I even started university, I always knew that I wanted to take a year out of my degree to complete a placement. The idea of taking a year out was great, but my sixth form tutors never told me that searching for a placement would be so difficult.

It was hard to find a role which offered everything I was looking for – I wanted somewhere professional, with a great reputation and most importantly somewhere where I could not only expand on my current skills, but learn new ones as well.

After a while I decided to take my search closer to home, where I came across Marketing Derby. I was slightly out of the loop with everything that had been happening within the city for the past two years since I’d been living in Lincoln. So I was amazed to see the developments and changes that were happening across the city on their website. Whilst there weren’t any placement positions advertised, I decided to try my luck and send over my CV anyway. The week after I was lucky enough to be called into the office for an interview and I was ecstatic to be offered a 15-month placement as a marketing and admin assistant.

Moving back to Derby was strange, but in hindsight, it was quite easy getting used to the city again; getting used to living with my family again however, took a bit longer. Sorry Dad, but there’s only so much of football on the TV I can take before I start pulling my hair out. Continue reading

Bringing the Attitude :-)

An Ikea security guard called Albert once told me that ‘you choose your attitude at work’, not randomly in passing, I was at my 1st day induction and he was saying the words that would stick with me to this very day; having no idea that 16 years later I’d still be hearing them loud and clear!

Very apt, as those queues stretched to the back of the warehouse; full of folk with their essential tealights, batteries and products that they could neither pronounce nor live without, coming through my checkout feeling exasperation but relief that they had finally made it and the well-deserved hot dogs were now so, so close.

Dealing with the customers who were always right, obviously, but also surprised at how much all those ‘bargains’ added up to, moaning about how long they had been waiting and then looking for their form of payment or spending just that little bit too long packing their shiny new Swedish belongings, you certainly need to choose the right attitude from the first customer to the last.

Of course, these days upon returning to those big blue walls to purchase my own tealights, batteries and products that I can pronounce because I once worked there, I am those customers; with gusto! Who am I to change the customer stereotype…I guess I just hope that Albert is still passing the message on. Continue reading

What does Black Friday discounting say about your service business

I’ve had a lot of emails this week advertising Black Friday deals from all sorts of companies. And while for retailers this has become the norm, in fact the ones who don’t discount stand out, what has surprised me is the number of B2B companies and service businesses that have also been advertising discounts on their services to new clients. It got me wondering how their current customers feel.
I think we all accept that you’re occasionally going to see something you paid full price for in a shop or online advertised cheaper later in the season or in an end of the season sale. And we’ve probably made the choice either to buy it at full price and enjoy it for the maximum amount of time, or we’ve decided to take the risk it will sell out, or not end up in the sale at all knowing that this means we might miss out on owning it at all.
But how would you fell if it was a service that you pay for regularly from one of your suppliers? Whether it be a monthly , quarterly or annual service. If that gets advertised as 25% off for new customers for first month, 6 months or even in one case I’ve seen this week, a year. If I had agreed a contract with that company last week (or actually at any time) I’d be feeling a little cross today. It would also make me question the value of the contract I have with them. Will the person paying 25% less get 25% less value? That’s not what the advert says (and yes we’re into a real scenario here, although fortunately I’m not their customer, one of my clients is) . I would feel that I was in effect paying a premium for a service I should be getting for a lot less money. Continue reading

The benefits of outsourcing in a small business

Making the decision to outsource a service, a product, or a process can be the best thing you ever do for your business. It can save you money, people power and physical resources. If you are a small business and are trying to run your company single handed, then outsourcing will undoubtedly make the job easier. Well that has always been my opinion and is what I say to business owners when I get asked this question. I also recommend that businesses get into the habit of outsourcing as soon as possible in life of the business. Why?

Well

  1. a) A business owner should concentrate on what they are good at, which is hopefully the core of the business. They need to be responsible for the growth of the business. So, unless the business is a bookkeeping one, accounts are probably not the key strength of the business owner. (OK, go on; you’re all going to tell me you were accountants in previous lives now aren’t you…)
  2. b) It implements good practices and puts in place the systems for when the business grows. (the longer into the life of the business you are, the more difficult it becomes to give up that control!) And of course don’t forget to document those processes
  3. c) Time! It will probably take an experienced bookkeeper a quarter of the time it takes you to keep your books in order. And it will take a good VA a lot less time to type up the reports/ quotes/ invoices for the business while you can focus on dealing with the customer interaction and the new sales.
  4. d) Flexibility: You can get vital skills for certain aspects of the business on an as and when basis.

Continue reading